By: Gary L. Hutchens
Good morning to each one... It is a blessing to be able to be together today to worship God as His family, the church. Christianity is a religion based upon love. Jesus spoke of God so loving the world that He offered His only begotten Son to die upon a cross in order that we might have the opportunity to be forgiven and saved (Jn. 3:16). The Apostle Paul stated that God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still lost in sin Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8). The Apostle John spoke of Jesus, through love, giving the ultimate for mankind, His life (Jn. 15:13-14). God and Christ did what they did for us out of love.
Our response to God’s love for us ought to be based upon our love for Him. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (Jn. 14:15). John later wrote, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments” (1 Jn. 5:3). Our obedience to God’s teachings, naturally, should be out of respect for Him as God. However, we should understand that He did what He did for us, and continues to bless us, because He loves us. His love for us should move us to love Him, and if we truly love Him, we will obey Him (1 Jn. 4:19).
It is easy to love someone who loves us first. It is even easier to love someone when that love does not demand any outward commitment on our part toward that person. But, of course, true love in a lasting relationship is seldom so one sided. As already stated, we obey God because we love Him. We worship Him because we love Him. We dedicate ourselves to Him because we love Him. The apostle Paul spoke of giving his life to the Lord: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who love me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20).
Love is most visible when it is giving. One area where many Christians have real difficulty in demonstrating true love for God is in their giving back to Him from what He has already blessed them with. He loves them, so He blesses us materially. We love and should be eager to worship Him by giving back to Him from those material blessings. We have the opportunity to do so each first day of the week.
The only way God has designed for His church to be financed is through the free will offerings of His people, given in love. Our giving each Sunday is vivid evidence of our love for God. What we give each Sunday is one way that we make an outward expression as to how much we love God. Let’s remember this truth as we plan our giving each Sunday. Let us demonstrate our faith by our actions (Jas. 2:18). Our actions will speak louder than our words about how much we truly love God...
Gary L. Hutchens